How to Care for Sansevieria (Snake Plant)? 7 Expert Tips

Sansevieria is an excellent houseplant for ornamental purposes. It is a very popular succulent and its horn-like structure’s display is an uncommon and sophisticated one.

Sansevieria is also commonly known by many other names such as – Cylindrical snake plant, Spear Sansevieria, African spear plant, etc. This popular interior décor plant is great for adding that green touch to your rooms, offices, and home gardens. Its scientific name is Sansevieria trifasciata.

This fleshy succulent has very unique dark green foliage and an uncommon building which brings a pleasingly wild look to your interiors.

The Sansevieria trifasciata is a rather new trend among the indoor house plants. They are easy to grow and hardly any care required characteristics make them a favorite among leisurely indoor potted plants.

The fleshy long stems can vary in sizes from about 10 inches to even a meter or two at times. Their best feature is the long-lasting periods these plants can go without providing it with water. The plant can be kept hoe it naturally grows or it can also be given a braided look where the stems are arranged into twisted braids to add to its unique look.

How to Identify Sansevieria Plants?

A rather new addition in the list of popular home succulents, the Sansevieria trifasciata has its origin in Angola, Southern Africa.

It needs minimal management but does not compromise in its display qualities.

This stunning succulent has attractive greenish-grey leaves that are fleshy and stiff. The dark green foliage has vertical patterns of variegation as well.

Once the Sansevieria trifasciata has established well it starts growing and often fans outwards from the bottom of the plant. It also develops tubular flowers which are usually whitish with hints of green and pink.

The sub-cylindrical shaped leaves can also be braided to give a different and twisted look. The plants when growing can be tied into braids and knotted with gardening tape or strings and can be kept that way to maintain the twists.

The braids of the Sansevieria succulents can be re-braided to continue the braided effect as the plant keeps growing.

Braided or not, a single stem or bunches of stems, short or long stems, these succulents add a versatile look to your house gardens and rooms when placed by the window.

Tips for Caring your Sansevieria (Snake Plant)

Growing and caring for a Sansevieria is no big task, just the right amount of everything and this unique succulent of yours will flourish.

The Sansevieria trifasciata is an evergreen and perennial variety and as a houseplant, it is easy to maintain because of its qualities to thrive for long without water supply or much tending. Here, are some basic requirements that this succulent needs:

1. Soil requirements

This succulent needs to be provided with well-drained soil. A fast-draining soil with sand added on the top layer works best for these plants. Peat compost with the soil also works to facilitate good drainage. A well-drained cactus mix is good enough and provides necessary aeration as well.

2. Temperature for growth

As a succulent variety and a native tropical climate, the Sansevieria trifasciata prefers average to warm temperatures for growth.

The ideal room temperature for these houseplants ranges from around 65to 80. These plants can also work with fluctuating temperatures but the level must preferably not drop below 55.

Warm dry air suits this succulent variety. Basically, the temperatures preferred by man are the temperatures that this plant prefers too, thus it becomes really easy to keep it indoors.

3. Sunlight for the Sansevieria

Like many other indoor plants, the Sansevieria also prefers bright light. Direct sunlight is good for this succulent and it can even make it work in partial shade.

When kept outdoors, it is best to let this plant be under partial shade to keep away the harsh and direct midday sunlight. Too harsh sun and warmth can cause burns on the foliage affecting the display of the foliage.

The succulent although tolerates poor light conditions, can show restricted growth when in shade for too long. In full bright sunlight, the plants grow more upright and healthy.

4. Watering the Sansevieria

As a succulent, the foliage of the Sansevieria is fleshy and can store water for its needs. It can go on for a long period without having been watered. These plants once established, can survive drought periods without showing can negative effects on the display.

When the spear plant is in its growth period, it must be watered moderately to make the potting mix wet enough and watering between regular intervals as the top layer of soil gets dry. Eventually, with growth, reschedule watering the plant when the top half of the soil starts to feel dry.

Ensure you do not wet the foliage; water must be poured into the potting soil and not over the plant as it can lead to rotting of the foliage.

Also, the Sansevieria must not be over-watered. Over-watering can make the foliage soft and yellow and it may start to bend and topple from the base.

The roots of the plant can also be damaged due to too much water, therefore, avoid over-watering the roots too. To make sure that extra water does not stay, use well-drained sandy soil and empty the plates under the plant pot as it may be holding extra water.

Watering the plant every once in a week during the growing season works just right. In winters, watering can be compromised a lot more and can be brought down to only once a month.

5. Fertilizing the Sansevieria

This plant can do great without regular fertilizing. It is rather unnecessary to fertilize this succulent. The plant can be feed with a low concentration liquid fertilizer every once a month only during its growing season. Whereas, when it comes to winters, the plant must not be fed at all with any fertilizer.

A slow time release kind of fertilizer can be used to mix with the soil before the plant is planted. These plants are slow-growers, fertilizing has no extra effect on speeding up the growth. Over-fertilizing is harmful and can also kill the plants. 

6. Potting and Re-potting the Sansevieria

Sansevieria plants last long and for their proper preservation, they must be potted and repotted correctly. The first year does not require any re-potting, but it is advised to change the topsoil to keep the soil well-drained and fresh.

The topsoil can be scraped off once a while, without causing any damage to the roots or the foliage. Once tiled loose, the pot can be filled again with the addition of coarse sand grains along with the soil to ensure aeration and drainage in the soil. Proper drainage conditions should be ensured at the base of the pot to avoid water stagnation.

When it comes to re-potting, the Sansevieria trifasciata is supposed to be re-potted during the spring season. Re-potting can be done either every year or once every two years.

It is said that the Sansevieria notifies when it is supposed to be re-potted by its roots breaking through the pots. But this is usually true for only plastic pots. As these plants develop via the help of rhizomes, the roots spread and require space.

Once the roots start appearing outside the soil, the plant must be carefully transferred to a wider pot for further growth. Make sure you re-pot only during early spring or springtime.

7. Propagation of the Sansevieria (Snake Plant)

As Sansevieria trifasciata grows via rhizomes, they can be divided when they form clusters. When more spears are present in the pot, the spear plants can be separated. When the leaves are around 6 inches long, they can be snipped from the rootstock using a sharp knife.

These leaves with roots attached to them can be transferred to another pot with well-drained soils having a balanced amount of sand to fulfill the plant’s soil needs.

The clusters of leaves that may not have roots can be placed in healthy peat moss with a sand mix to facilitate the growth of roots. After these clusters develop roots, the plants can be potted accordingly.

Another way of propagating the Sansevieria trifasciata is through leaf cuttings. It is a rather time-consuming process but it works just as well.

To use leaf cutting to get a new Sansevieria trifasciata plant, a slice measuring around 2 inches long must be made from a healthy leaf. Then, the bottom part of the cutting must be planted with the right end up.

The cut leaf sections must be inserted around 1 – 2cm deep into the potting mix or in a moist mixture of sand and peat moss. After potting the cut leaves, they are to be placed in a position where they can receive bright sunlight.

Watering rules are similar to that of the regular growing Sansevieria; the soil mix must be watered moderately to make it moist enough without water on the foliage. Over-watering must be avoided. The cut portion of the leaves will slowly develop rhizomes and roots which will carry out the growth in this succulent.

3 Common Problems in Sansevieria and How to Solve them

The Sansevieria is a very tolerant plant to conditions like frost, shade, and even drought. Often, this plant faces certain issues mostly related to improper watering.

1. Many a time, the foliage may turn yellowish and dry or turn soft and mushy and begin to bend from the base.

This is caused by the rotting of the foliage due to over-watering and extra damp soil. To prevent this, the yellowed or rotten part of the soil can be cut away and the rest of the plant can be provided with the warmth of the sun to dry the extra water and it will continue growing properly.

2. Often due to less watering during the dry summer season, the long upright leaves can tend to curl downwards. Regulating to right amounts of water can solve this issue. Give the Sansevieria time to recover. Do not over-water as this would not solve the problem. Provide water in balanced amounts.

3. Pests like the vine weevils must be kept away from this succulent. These pests can cause a lot of damage. If the plant has already been infested, the badly affected parts of foliage and roots must be immediately separated from the rest of the plant to prevent the spreading of the pests. On spotting the vine weevils, spray an efficient pesticide for this succulent to kill the pests and avoid infestation.

Benefits of using Sansevieria as an indoor plant


The greenish-gray variegated foliage with the long fleshy structure of the spear plant makes a very attractive interior décor houseplant with vertical display qualities.

Among the other bushy green plants in your room or garden, this succulent adds a very unique and wild look. There are various varieties of this succulent as well; you can choose the one that suits your taste.

This plant’s low maintenance quality makes it a perfect plant for all you garden enthusiasts with less time at hand. Placing a Sansevieria trifasciata Cylindrica at your office desk also adds a great green touch.

Braided together or let to fan out, these wild green succulents look great either way. It has a resemblance to the lucky bamboo pant as well.

This plant is a great air purifier as well. The Sansevieria processes with the crassulacean acid metabolism where it releases oxygen at night and sucks up all carbon dioxide.

This makes it an even better choice as an indoor plant to keep in your bedrooms. In addition to providing oxygen, it also purifies the surrounding of harmful toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, etc.

Along with these great benefits, there’s a warning to follow too – these succulents are poisonous if consumed. Therefore, be sure to keep your kids and pets away from this fleshy plant.

This plant is rapidly gaining popularity among garden and houseplant enthusiasts and thus, they are available easily on shopping sites as well.

With the right amount of care and precautions, this plant is a manageable one and a great green option. With all the necessary information, you’re now ready to get a new spear plant for your home. Happy gardening to you!


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